This time of the year in hockey -- training camp and exhibition season in the ECHL -- we always hear it's a numbers game. There's more players than there are roster spots, so something, or some someones, have to give.
That's true for the Alaska Aces, of course, but they also have some literal numbers games going on -- namely, a number of players who have switched numbers.
Take veteran defenseman Sean Curry. He wore No. 24 for the club last season, but this season will wear No. 26, which he said he has often worn in his career. When he arrived in Alaska, No. 26 already was taken by Russ Sinkewich, who has since departed, so Curry now has No. 26.
When winger Evan Trupp of Anchorage came to the club last season in a trade from Bakersfield, he wore No. 13 because No. 19 was taken by center Bobby Hughes. Now, Hughes is gone (to ECHL Fort Wayne) and Trupp is back in No. 19, which he wore at the University of North Dakota.
Winger Jordan Kremyr came to the Aces from Providence College late in the 2010-11 season. He asked for No. 12, but then-captain Scott Burt wore that number, so Kremyr got No. 14, and The Blog is told, never inquired again about No. 12 in the two seasons Burt served as an assistant coach after his retirement from playing. But with Burt off to Spokane of the Western Hockey League as an assistant coach in the offseason, equipment manager Mike Burkhead got Burt's OK to let Kremyr have No. 12.
And now that Curry is no longer wearing No. 24, winger Spencer Bennett, who wore No. 26 when he joined the team in midseason last go-round, has switched to No. 24.
Meanwhile, winger Shawn Skelly, who wore No. 44 last season when he joined the club after the NHL lockout ended because the Aces had that number around (NHLer Nate Thompson wore it until he went back to his usual gig with the Tampa Bay Lightning), has switched to No. 16.
And defenseman B.J. Crum, who wore No. 3 when he joined the Aces for a second go-round in midseason last season, is back wearing No. 2 this season. That number already was taken by Mike Baran last season, but he's not back, so Crum is back -- if The Blog's old-man memory is correct (um, having some Internet problems tonight so can't look it up) -- in the No. 2 he wore in his first go-round with the Aces. And now that we think about it, we have the vague notion Crum once wore No. 4 too. (Man, working with a memory as sharp as a noodle is no easy gig).
Winger Andy Taranto got No. 44 when he joined the Aces last spring after his college career at UAF was over -- Skelly by then had been traded to Bakersfield as part of the package for Trupp -- but this season he's in No. 29, which he wore for the Nanooks.
And in the tradition of No. 49 being worn by an Alaskan -- Justin Johnson of Anchorage comes to mind, as does William Wrenn of Anchorage, who wore it last season and is now in the AHL -- that number now belongs to rookie center Eli Zuck of Anchorage.
Think that about covers it, but The Blog is confident Burkie will let him know if he's missed something, which is entirely possible.
By DOYLE WOODY, adn.com